Moscow accuses NATO of 'destabilising' northern Europe02 december 2014, 12:39
Russia lashed out at NATO on Monday, saying its military drills in the Baltics could destroy northern Europe's stability and warning against Ukraine's membership in the US-led military bloc, AFP reports.
Speaking to Interfax news agency ahead of a meeting Tuesday of foreign ministers from NATO's 28 member states, Russia's deputy foreign minister Alexei Meshkov said NATO command is "trying to destabilise the world's most stable region, that of northern Europe."
"Endless military exercises, the deployment of nuclear-capable planes to Baltic countries" will lead to the "destruction" of stability and security in the region, he said.
Increasingly isolated Moscow is locked in the worst standoff since the Cold War with Western countries, which accuse it of stoking the conflict in eastern Ukraine where over 4,300 people died in fighting since April.
NATO accused Moscow last month of moving nuclear-capable weapons to Crimea -- annexed by Russia in March -- and of moving troops and equipment across the border to eastern Ukraine where Kiev's forces are battling a pro-Russian insurgency.
Meshkov said "no proof" had been provided by the alliance of Russia's military presence in Ukraine and said the West was basing the allegations solely on information from Ukraine and Internet sources.
Kiev has dropped its non-allied status recently to get on track to join NATO and a top commander was in Kiev last week for high-level talks, further adding to Moscow's ire.
"Ukraine's membership in NATO will undermine the entire system of European security. Those who are now trying to pull Kiev into NATO are taking up tremendous geopolitical responsibility," Meshkov said.